You Put All Your Time into Elections… for What?

I can remember my first election week on the Hill four years ago like it was… well, four short years ago.

Logging onto Facebook on a dull night browsing through statuses, seeing one that read, “No eat, no sleep, it’s Campaign Week!,” I thought, “Hmm… this week might be fun.” Much to my surprise, I had no idea how extreme the candidates could get.

When I opened the door to leave my Palmetto North apartment the next morning marking the beginning of Campaign Week, a candidate literally shoved a breakfast starter in my mouth and demanded that I vote for her or else she would shed the blood of an innocent child. Okay, that didn’t really happen.

But after enjoying the admittedly delicious breakfast, I was chauffeured to my class to B.L. Perry, by a Miss FAMU  candidate in a brand new, orange 2008 Ford Mustang – that actually happened. She unselfishly had her people driving orange Mustangs all around campus offering shuttles to students.

After such an experience and being a wide-eyed freshman at the time, I decided to indulge myself that week. And why not? For the entire week I made sure I was at every candidate’s event, especially at those where I’d be promised real  food instead of my usual Ramen noodle diet. I collected T-shirts from every candidate and danced to music at free parties for candidates I couldn’t even vote for.

I did all of this and, when Tuesday arrived, I casually walked past about five precincts. You see, my intentions hadn’t been to vote, even though I looked a number of candidates in the eye promising them I would (some of these individuals were actually dear friends of mine, and I must say I felt awful about not voting).

I was simply swept away in the camaraderie of Election Week. And until this day, I have yet to cast a vote in school elections. Sue me. By the way, whichever lawyer is representing you in the Court of Hypocrisy had better be good, because you’ll be suing about three-fourths of the student body.

That’s right, roughly 2,000 people vote on election day, according to an editorial written by Brandon McCaskill, Mr. FAMU 2008-2009, in The Famuan on Feb. 24, 2010. The editorial was an attempt to persuade the Student Senate to pass a bill putting a cap on how much candidates could spend on elections. The former Mr. FAMU pushed this bill after learning some of his opponents were pouring tens of thousands into campaigns for school elections.

So, if the student body is so overwhelmingly indifferent to elections, why do candidates funnel so much money into something, as numbers indicate, so futile?

It’s far too late for this year’s candidates to frugally promote themselves. Many of them have funneled laughable mounts of money into their campaigns, for T-shirts to be worn and food to be eaten by people who won’t bother to vote on Tuesday. But for those considering a run in the future, take notes from McCaskill who was able to beat his competition on a budget.

Spending too much money for campaign week could land you in the same position as the beautiful young lady who gave me a ride in that flashy orange Mustang in 2008: standing on The Set in tears Tuesday night, not only because you lost the election, but because you’re “in the red.”